Mine pay revolt spreads in aftermath of Marikana
ROCK drill operators and other workers of at least two other North West platinum mining operations have made similar wage demands to those of strikers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine — raising fears that the instability could spread.
At Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats) Thembelani mine near Rustenburg, workers have given management until Friday to respond to their demands. At Royal Bafokeng’s BRPM mine, drillers are demanding R12,500 a month — the same as Lonmin’s strikers.
Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said yesterday the demands were presented after a march last week — by the workers, and not union representatives.
Steve Phiri, CE of Royal Bafokeng Platinum, said that rock drillers had made similar demands a week ago, through the National Union of Mineworkers.
The company had not entertained discussions on the wage demand as it had a collective agreement, signed in June last year.
"There are indications (rebel union) Amcu might want to organise at our operations, which management is not against — provided it is done by the rules and with the utmost discipline," Mr Phiri said.
Royal Bafokeng was concerned about a "possible spillover" from Lonmin to its operations, he said.
Lonmin said in a statement yesterday it was in danger of breaching debt covenants with its lenders.
"Whilst there is still some time before the covenant compliance is tested, the company now considers that the balance of probabilities is that the impact on production of the current events will result in covenants being breached at the next test date on September 30.
"Consequently, constructive discussions are now taking place with Lonmin’s banking group to address this potential situation."
Lonmin reported 33% attendance yesterday at its platinum mines near Brits as most workers ignored requests from the company and unions to return to work.
It said it would not pursue disciplinary action against workers not returning to work this week, which the government has declared to be one of mourning.